Interactive Poll: Why Can't Users Find Answers to Their Questions in Help?
I'm preparing for an upcoming presentation at a local STC chapter in the SF Bay area. I'm hoping to get some feedback before I finalize this presentation, so if you have some ideas, I'd love to hear from you. Here's my draft:
Why Users Can't Find Answers to Their Questions in Help Content
One of the main goals of help material is to help users find answers to their questions, but so often this doesn't happen. Users foray into the help muttering under their breath only to leave it cursing vocally afterwards -- because the help didn't answer their question, or at least the user couldn't find the answer. Why not? Why is it so hard to guide users to the right information when they need it? In this presentation, I'll list 20 reasons why users can't find answers in help, and then suggest meaningful ways to connect users to answers in help material.
That's the extent of the description. Now here are my 20 reasons why users can't find their answers in help material. These answers are in the form of an interactive poll. I would like you to select the top reasons (make 5-10 selections or so) that you think are the main causes for which users can't find answers in help.
Do you have another reason that I didn't list? Feel free to add it and any other feedback in the comments below.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.